Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reebok Relaunching EasyTone Shoes After Settling FTC Suit

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Reebok got itself into a heap of trouble with the Federal Trade Commission when it put out an ad campaign that claimed that the design of its EasyTone and RunTone shoes help give anyone who wears them better muscle tone than anyone who wears other shoes.

The company had such noted muscle-tone experts as Kim Kardashian spreading the news of its effects. Back in 2009, the kontroversial starlet blogged her love for the product, the Daily Mail reports. 

“You guys wouldn’t believe it, these shoes have a ball (kind of like that big balance ball you use to do sit ups on) on the bottom of the shoes!” Kardashian wrote. “So basically it works your leg and butt muscles as you simply walk!”

Back in September, the shoemaker agreed to pay the FTC $25 million to help settle the matter, but that didn’t mean Reebok didn’t think its shoe was doing the muscle-toning job. “Settling does not mean we agree with the FTC's allegations; we do not,” the company said in a statement, the Mail reports. “We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the further development of our EasyTone line of products.”

Now, Reebok has announced that it will re-introduce the shoes to the marketplace and continue developing them, the Mail adds.

Since the toning market is 85 percent made up of women, that is likely where Reebok’s advertisements will continue to be aimed. “Toning was driven by the insight that women care about their looks, and that insight doesn’t change,” said Reebok president Uli Becker, the Mail reports.

One suspects that Reebok won’t likely restart its “Make Your Boobs Jealous” campaign that raised the hackles of feminist consumers everywhere.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

China's Li-Ning Takes on Nike, Adidas With U.S. E-Commerce Site

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Top Chinese sports brand Li-Ning is making a second pass at the U.S. market and for now their strategy is branded e-commerce. 

"The biggest brand you've never heard of ... now available here," proclaims the greeting on a bold red background on, which officially launches Monday. The company's first English-language consumer website has already picked up some popular U.S. e-commerce tactics, like free holiday shipping and a Facebook page. 

The company's founder, former Chinese Olympic gymnast Li Ning, has ambitious plans to challenge rivals like Nike on their home turf with his namesake brand. 

"The U.S. is obviously important for any sports brand to have a presence in ... [and] in the short term the most cost-effective manner to reach that market, to get products to consumers, is through the e-commerce platform," said CMO Frank Chen. 

Li-Ning has been in the U.S. since 2007, when it opened a design center in Portland, Nike's hometown and a regional hub for Adidas. Its first attempt at selling products through U.S. retailers fizzled because of supply-chain problems. 

It's a big challenge for any Chinese brand to overcome perceptions of being a producer of cheap, copycat goods, but even more so in the sporting goods industry, where branding is key. And American consumers will see a strong similarity between Li-Ning's logo and the Nike swoosh. But the Li-Ning team, led by the straight-talking Mr. Chen, a U.S.-educated former Greater China CMO at Philips Electronics and general manager at Electronic Arts China, says the key to success lies in clearly differentiating themselves from rivals.
"If you just have the product without the branding, it's like having a car without the gas -- it wouldn't run," said George Lu, CEO of Digital Li-Ning and a Chicago technology entrepreneur who's also chairman of Acquity Group. The independent digital marketing agency sealed a joint-venture with Li-Ning a year ago to form Digital Li-Ning, with a $10 million startup investment. The international e-commerce site will initially focus on the U.S. 

Along with Acquity and other partners, Li-Ning plans to invest a combined $100 million on global marketing over the next five years. 

Li-Ning sees its niche in the U.S. as an Eastern-inspired brand that emphasizes the spiritual side of sports, focusing on balance of mind and body over brute strength and power. To start, the company is selling products in three categories: basketball, running and women's fitness. 

The marketing campaign is still at an early stage and messaging has not yet been fully developed. But as an example, women's fitness products will be marketed as sporty yet still feminine. 

"There is a market segment of women who don't want to build up muscles and sweat all the time and feel they have to compete with men. They may be involved in kickboxing or whatever but it's the psychological side that we need to cater to," Mr. Chen said. "It's a very Eastern philosophy. Nobody owns that."
Added Mr. Lu: "We're not just putting Chinese shoes in a box and sending it to the U.S. We're designing entire new sets of products just for the U.S. and we've mapped out the next five, ten years," in terms of products and messaging. 

For now, the company is doing exactly that, offering a selection of shoes and apparel from Chinese product lines on while the company develops products geared toward Americans in terms of sizing, design and material. New products are scheduled to roll out around the time of the 2012 London Olympics. 
A sneak preview of what's to come: a close-fitting, low-profile shoe that promotes agility and natural movement. "Think ninja," Mr. Chen said. 

The London Olympics will be key in putting Li-Ning in front of consumers and driving traffic to the new site. The brand has endorsement deals with international athletes but is counting on gold-medal performances from the Chinese gymnastics, diving, badminton, ping pong and shooting teams. 

Mr. Chen noted that to succeed in the youth-driven basketball category, Li-Ning is targeting starters on the NBA All-Star teams and is currently in talks with agents to ink a deal in time for the start of next season.
"It's going to cost us, but we need a big name. Not just in the U.S. but in China," Mr. Chen said. "The Kobe, Lebron shoes, these are the ones that can drive the premium up to 1000 RMB ($150)."
Li-Ning views branded e-commerce as the best entry point into the U.S. market not only because young consumers spend so much time online, but also to avoid the retail footprint of the biggest players.
"If [Nike and Adidas] are too aggressive with e-commerce ... it'll backfire from their channels. Footlocker would be pissed off," Mr. Lu said. "We have nothing to lose!" 

In the midterm, the company plans to open flapship stores in major U.S. cities to display products, though consumers will still be encouraged to buy online. It's a selling model based on Apple's strategy.
Mr. Chen and Mr. Lu won't give specific sales goals for the e-commerce initiative but point out that global revenue is less than 5% of total sales now. CEO Zhang Zhiyong has said he wants international sales to make up 20% of global revenue by 2018, half of it from the U.S. 

"We're very much aware our priority's in China," Mr. Chen said. "To succeed globally you've got to fortify your position domestically." 

At home, Li-Ning is still trying to find its footing after an attempted relaunch last year aimed at making the brand more youthful and upmarket, to compete directly with Nike and Adidas. Li-Ning's COO, CMO and head of e-commerce all resigned. Net profits tumbled 50% in first-half 2011, to $45.8 million, and the stock price is down 70% from a year ago. 

In China last year, Li-Ning continued to trail market leader Nike in the apparel category, which includes clothing and footwear, and was even with Adidas. Upstart local brand Anta was just behind Li-Ning in market share and growing quickly, according to data from Euromonitor.
"All the rebranding in the world hasn't allowed them to differentiate themselves that much from the other up-and-coming Chinese brands," said Ben Cavender, associate principal at the China Market Research Group. 

Chinese consumers balked at paying premium prices for Li-Ning, when aspirational foreign brands cost only a little bit more. Meanwhile, distributors were still trying to unload inventory that had piled up since the heady days following the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

"At the end of the day it's pretty confusing to the consumer whether they've been through a rebranding or not," Mr. Cavender said. 

Mr. Chen doesn't mince words when discussing the flawed relaunch. 

"On a rebranding effort you have to have innovation, your product has to change, your tone has to change -- teen to teen rather than father to teen," Mr. Chen said. "Obviously my predecessor didn't recognize that."
For now, Li-Ning's advertising is back to basics and product-focused. Everything in the pipeline features real athletes, according to Stefan Petzinger, general manager at Leo Burnett Shanghai, Li-Ning's agency of record in China for all categories except basketball. 

Mr. Petzinger said that for the 2012 Olympics campaign, expect cinematic-style advertising "that's very close to the heart of the Chinese people." 


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Check Out Nike's Cool Augmented Reality Running Campaign

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Nike has a cool new augmented reality (AR) campaign:

It involves 50 runners who wore "Flash" running jackets (which are entirely reflective) hooked up to GPS systems, while they ran around Vienna, Austria, for 90 minutes as participants tracked them with a mobile app (via Simply Zesty):

"To catch the flash, participants would have to take a photo of the runner, which would reveal the special number as the flash hit the jacket. Because the jackets were made of light reflective material, it meant that the flash would reveal the number and whoever catches the most flashes wins the game."

It's one of several AR campaigns Nike's done recently. Last year Nike India launched an app where consumers could point their phones at the print ads with the AR code "and watch animated content featuring the people and the products in that particular ad along with other information about the Nike Sportswear collection," according to the Hindu Business Line.

Lots of brands are getting on board with AR and mobile campaigns, including a number of retailers, like Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban and Tesco. It's a smart, innovative way for brands to advertise, because it engages consumers, and for that reason, the ad is much more memorable. It's also not as intrusive as a TV ad, for example, because consumers are making a choice to view — and engage in — the ad. We'll definitely see more of it in 2012.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Digital Marketing in 2012: Year of Application

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

With less than a month to the new year, how will digital marketing shape up in 2012? What challenges and expectations do advertisers and agency professionals need to look out for next year?

To put it simply, 2012 will be the year of application. With all the changes in 2011, applying all you learned would be the key theme for 2012. Here are four areas to consider:

1. Mobile. 2011 may be the start of the mobile marketing era. However, advertisers and agency executives are still working to integrate mobile more effectively with an overall marketing plan. From better online and offline integration to measuring mobile ROI, there’s huge room for improvement in these areas.

Mobile marketing is no longer one of many marketing channels to choose from. With consumers spending much more time on mobile devices, it will become indispensable in all marketing campaigns for 2012. The key challenge for advertisers and marketers is how to leverage the “persona,l” “portable,” and “interactive” elements of mobile and integrate them to your overall marketing activities. Just like how online marketing used to be considered an option in the marketing plan, consumers’ media habits will dictate the direction and mode of marketing. Therefore, marketers need to consider the role mobile will play in consumers’ lives and find an effective way to integrate it into the marketing mix. In 2012, I look forward to seeing more and better case studies of integrated mobile marketing campaigns!

2. Deeper ROI. This year, advertisers have started to ask for more measurement metrics, mostly based on price, “cost per click,” and “conversion rate.” With heavier investment in digital marketing, advertisers will naturally require even more direct and efficient return on the business. “How much money can my investment bring?” In Western markets, they have worked out a system to count the return, and some media agencies in China have also highlighted its importance. Take the bank business for example, apart from promotions, digital marketing can help an enterprise in its day-to-day marketing and customer service. Would it also be possible for the bank to leverage digital marketing to provide more services to clients to enhance their loyalty and preference? Could this be done using a software or app to integrate all services with payment notice? Such functions could not only reach the clients, but also help with the bank’s core business, such as reducing dead debts. An open platform that enables clients to manage all bank accounts (at least with a reminder function) may be surprisingly welcome. Isn’t it the best return?

3. Research. Although digital marketing ad spend increases year by year, advertisers do not pay enough attention to marketing research. In the past, when we have a $2 million budget in digital, it does not seem cost-efficient to spend $0.5 million (25 percent) on research. But now, with digital investment usually exceeding tens of millions a year, spending $2 million on research would only occupy 4 percent in the $50 million investments – bringing deeper understanding on the future trends and consumer insights. Wouldn’t it be better to work out more effective investment decisions based on reliable research results? Digital marketing still lacks an industry-acknowledged standard like TV audience ratings. Advertiser-initiated research would help to collect data and figure out a way for their own digital marketing metrics.

4. Integrated marketing. This topic is not new and has been discussed again and again. Constrained by execution, current cross-media integrated marketing is more like a combination of all media, which is actually not integration – but the first step to it. We can see an OOH ad is used to promote the company’s microblog or mobile app, and TV commercials will include a link to search or an official website. All these attempts only combine the various media channels. But once we understand the concept of how to combine various media, then we can start thinking about how to leverage each of these channels to integrate them into the entire marketing plan. For example, when planning for digital marketing on outdoor ads on bus shelters (or subway stations), we should include consumers’ waiting time into the plan and choose the best way to present the OOH ad. With the iPad becoming more popular, what format and how should we engage consumers on this platform? All these emerging trends require more comprehensive research, bold ideas, and more effective executions. What I may predict is: once realized, cross-media integrated marketing will not let advertisers down. In the coming year, I believe more advertisers will pay attention to these emerging platforms and step into the blue ocean of digital marketing!

From a strategic viewpoint, social media, mobile, video, and search will continue to be the four key trends in 2012. However, with the increasing number of new technologies and formats popping out, the challenge for all advertisers and agency professionals is how to apply them effectively in your marketing plan. Whoever can think of a way to overcome this challenge will herald a new wave of digital marketing. Infinite possibilities await. Let’s strive together!


Reebok 2012 Spring/Summer Collection Lookbook

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Reebok’s newest lookbook for Spring/Summer 2012, is finally out. The brand highlights their Always Classics and New Classics collections to present an interesting assortment of apparels and footwear. Featuring re-introduced and modernized pieces including one of the brand’s most iconic silhouettes – the Workout – which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, alongside standouts Kamikaze III and the Pump Fury HLS. A new men’s Basquiat apparel line from the brand’s artistically driven Affili’Art collection and a cute and playful mini Sushi pack rounds out the extensive seasonal arrangement. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nike Wants You To Fight Winter With Interactive Mini-Games

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Nike’s campaign ‘Winter’s Angry’ includes a dedicated microsite featuring three mini-games where users can test out their reflexes to win prizes. The interactive games are cinematic and showcase some of Nike’s winter clothing range that repel wind, rain and snow.

In the mini-games, a professional athlete is seen exercising in less than ideal weather conditions and the player has to quickly go through a series of ‘finger drills’ to rack up points. Overall high scores from 9-15 December will be eligible for the grand prize which includes a trip for two to meet a world-class Nike athlete.

The interactive games were created by ad agency W+K and also B-Reel Films. The athletes featured in the games were world champion wideout Greg Jennings, U.S. women’s soccer player Alex Morgan and Olympic gold medalist sprinter Allyson Felix.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Smart Adidas shoes let you mimic your favorite athlete

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

A new “intelligent” soccer cleat from Adidas promises to allow you to compare your performance with the game’s greatest players.

The innovative shoes, which contain an embedded chip that records and analyzes a player’s performance, have already been worn by star footballer Lionel Messi. The technology allows the German sporting goods giant to show you what you did and how it compares to previous efforts, friends and world-class players.

(No word on how the shoes will help you get over the bout of depression you’ll face with that last one.)

The cleats are the product of two years of research and development, Adidas says, and are yet another attempt to gain a competitive edge over American rival Nike, which counts star soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo among its stable of top-flight athletes, has a similar product in its Nike Plus platform and whose gains in the sport have been sizeable, at Adidas’ expense.

The smart shoe is a digitized version of the company’s f50 adizero, introduced in 2010 as the lightest cleat on the market, at just 165 grams. Now, it carries an eight-gram chip slipped beneath the sole that wirelessly transmits data, including maximum speed, distance covered.

The company is marketing them as the “football boot with a brain.”

The footwear runs on a modified version of Adidas’ miCoach platform, which was first introduced in 2006 for runners. Soccer, which involves 360-degree movement that’s more complicated than simple forward progress, represents the next step for the technology.

Unsurprisingly, the company says it’s investigating similar applications for basketball, tennis and American football in the first half of next year.

The shoes will go on sale in Europe, Asia and Latin America on Nov. 15 for 245 euros, or about $338. The U.S. receives them Dec. 1.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nike’s ‘Lunar Runs’ Encourage Chinese to Run at Night

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Nike has rolled out a new ad campaign in China that  calls on people to run, even at night. Nikes effort to challenge Chinese, especially from big cities, to put on running shoes is reinforced with a new web video featuring runners who talk about why they run. A highlight of the video is the story of Salad, a stressed-out 25-year-old office worker who lives in noisy Shanghai and decides to run at night.  

The video asks people to submit their own reasons, says Ad Age. Runners submitted their stories to Nike’s microblog account on the Sina Weibo platform, and the AKQA, the agency behind the campaign created a collection of professional videos based on the best entries.

The idea behind the campaign is to show running not as a painful and poor initiative but to demonstrate its cheerful and dynamical nature.

“We wanted to make sure it wasn’t necessarily Nike telling [consumers] why running is good, so the whole entry point with the communication is really leveraging stories of the few runners who are out there,” said Johan Vakidis, exec creative director at AKQA in Shanghai.

As part of the campaign, Nike hosted ‘Lunar Runs’ in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan. The nighttime events featured fitness instructors, live music and a few celebrities, to remind college students and young professionals that running is a fun activity that can be done at night, after classes or work. The event also promotes Nike’s Lunar Glide running shoe. The ‘Lunar Glide’ campaign also goes on in the USA calling on Americans to ‘never stop running’. The maximalistic slogan coincides with another Nike’s current campaign ‘Basketball never stops’.

The campaign seems to raise interest in running among young Nike’s audience as Nike engaged with more than 35,000 potential runners during its Lunar Runs and during a four-day Festival of Sports event in Shanghai.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Adidas : To Install The World’s First Virtual Footwear Wall At Flagship London Store

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

To mark the release of the incredible adiZero F50 miCoach football boots, adidas are installing the world’s first Virtual Footwear Wall in their flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.

One of the great innovations in football boot technology, the miCoach was unveiled in September and in keeping with their technological advances, adidas are set to launch the world’s first Virtual Footwear Wall.

The VFW uses state of the art touch-screen and precision real-time 3D rendered products allowing customers to select footwear on a virtual shelf, pre-ordering in a fully immersive experience. The wall is fully interactive allowing you to rotate the football boot to look at the product from multiple angles, zoom in to see the finest detail and get additional product information as well as watching supporting video material.

The new adidas adiZero F50 miCoach football boot, which will feature on the VFW, is another technological breakthrough from the leading sports brand. The boot is equipped with an in-built miCoach chip enabling both professional and amateur footballers to analyse their speed, distance and work rate during a game.

The VFW is now available for customers to use from today in adidas’ flagship London store at 415-419 Oxford Street, where they can pre-order the hugely anticipated F50 adiZero football boot featuring miCoach, as worn by Lionel Messi.

Shoppers can complete their pre-order registration of the new boots by using a tablet manned by a sales assistant, arranging delivery to their home, or picking up their chosen product at the checkout at launch on November 14.

The first 250 customers who pre-order in store using the Virtual Footwear Wall from today October will:
Get £25 off the retail price of the F50 with miCoach bundle (£200 instead of £225), receive an exclusive invitation to a private event for the customer and a friend to pick up their new boots and meet a Premiership footballer, receive a free, limited edition ‘glowing F50 boot with miCoach’ memento, have the chance to win an iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 or an iPod Touch

Source :

Friday, October 28, 2011

Need for Speed The Run and adidas Originals - Chicago Recap

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Recently the adidas Originals Store in Chicago hosted the kick off of the adidas Originals Need for Speed The Run collaboration. The event was the first of two events celebrating the collaboration and release of the limited edition Need for Speed The Run Top X shoe. Only 100 pairs of the Need for Speed The Run Top X are ever being created and there were 50 pairs of shoes available to fans at the Chicago event.

Media and fans got special access to the shoes and were able to get early hands on with Need for Speed The Run. Some of the hottest cars from Need for Speed The Run were on show including one of the only Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 in North America. There was a live street art installation from “Mull Crew” and guests were treated to exceptional performances by “DJ Neil Armstrong” and Chicago’s own “Kids These Days.”

The next event is in San Francisco on Thursday, October 27th and is being headlined by “Mick Boogie” and “The Ferocious Few.” The adidas Originals Need for Speed The Run apparel and shoes are on sale now in San Francisco and anyone who buys the apparel or shoes prior to October 27th event will get instant access! Even if you won't be attending the event, NFSCoulter will be live Tweeting and posting albums on Facebook, so you won't miss any of the action! 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adidas Launches The SPEED_CELL Workout Tracker

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Not content to let Nike hog the spotlight, Adidas has launched the SPEED_CELL, a miCoach compatible shoe dongle that senses your foot’s speed, acceleration, and distance travelled. The SPEED_CELL works with multiple sports and fits right inside the shoe’s outsole.

Unlike the Nike+ gear, the SPEED_CELL is more focused on general sporting rather than solely on running. It offers a window on the athlete’s performance and works with the miCoach virtual coaching service to allow weekend warriors to get fit without depending on a fireplug-shaped man yelling at them through a bullhorn.

With the miCoach SPEED_CELL, athletes of every level will be able to track their unique stats including average speed, maximum speed, number of sprints, distance at high intensity levels, steps and stride during play. The on-board memory then stores seven hours of an athlete’s metrics and wirelessly transmits the on-field performance data to their smartphone, tablet, PC or MAC. 

Shoes for soccer, basketball, football, and tennis will support the SPEED_CELL. It will be available on December 1st for $70. MiCoach Running will launch at the same time, followed by apps for basketball, tennis, and football. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nike introduces non-stop runner

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Nike has launched a US TV and online campaign featuring a girl who never stops running, to promote its Lunarglide +2 Shields trainers.


'Some Time Together', by Wieden+Kennedy Portland and Wieden+Kennedy São Paulo, features people in the girl's life, such as her mum, dad, boyfriend and sister, running alongside her for a short period to spend time with her.

Four video interviews are also being released with members from the films, each talking about how the girl's constant running affects their lives.

The films have launched on Nike's digital and social media channels, as well as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A series of Never Stop Running challenges will also present runners with a weekly challenge to inspire them to go further and encourage them to share tips with the running community.

Alice's Boyfriend

Alice's Girlfriends

Alice's Grandparents


Alice's Dog